Nestled in the grass at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas, California, is the gravestone for a cat named Room 8. It may seem like a regular grave marker at first glance, but if you read what’s written there, you’ll quickly realize that this cat has an extraordinary story.
One morning in 1952, a cat wandered into a classroom at Elysian Heights Elementary School in Echo Park, California. He quickly became friends with the students and teachers and decided to stick around for a while. He was named Room 8 after his favorite classroom at the school, and it didn’t take long before everyone in the school knew exactly who he was.
Room 8 lived at the school during the year, then over the summer he would disappear. Every year like clockwork, though, he came back on the first day of school, ready to help his little friends learn once again. News crews would show up to film the cat coming back each September, and he became known across the country, receiving around 100 fan letters every day.
“I went to this elementary school and Room 8 used to sleep on our desks,” Hiroshi Omori wrote in a post about Room 8 on Facebook. “We used to answer Room 8’s fan letters.”
Room 8 became so famous that he was featured in a documentary, a magazine photo shoot and even had a children’s book written about him. When he wandered into the school that day back in 1952, he found his family, and they made sure that the whole world loved him just as much as they did.
As Room 8 got older, a family near the school offered to take him in. Even with a cozy home, the cat still visited the school every day and the school janitor would carry him back across the street when the last bell rang. Room 8 passed away in 1968 when he was 21 years old. Even once he was gone, though, he was never forgotten. There’s a mural dedicated to him at the school where he lived, and the teachers there read his book to each new class that passes through. There are messages written to him in concrete outside the school, too. He even has a pet rescue named after him, the Room 8 Memorial Cat Foundation.
Room 8 lived quite a life — and his story is memorialized forever in the sweetest gravestone you’ll ever see.